EPA’s RFS Waivers Make It to Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court Nomination Hearing

 In State

In Washington, D.C., The Hill reports that during the politically-charged confirmation hearing for Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination for the Supreme Court, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) specifically asked Barrett about cases involv­ing renew­able fuel stan­dard waivers, which give exemp­tions to require­ments for a cer­tain amount of ethanol to be blend­ed into fuel.

Ernst, who has been an out­spo­ken oppo­nent of renew­able fuel waivers, also asked about a recent court deci­sion that vacat­ed RFS waivers the EPA grant­ed to oil refin­ers.

“They took the law that con­gress passed, they twist­ed it, and inter­pret­ed for the ben­e­fit of oil pro­duc­ers, and that harmed our Iowa farm­ers. I know, again, you cannot speak on how you would rule on these cases, espe­cial­ly those that could be pend­ing before the supreme court, but tell me — how do agen­cies, how should they inter­pret the laws that are passed by Congress?” she asked.

Barrett respond­ed: “When a court reviews whether an agency has exceed­ed its lawful author­i­ty, it goes to the statute that you, in Congress, enact, and inter­prets that statute, looks at the text, and tries to tell whether you’ve given the agency…leeway to adopt poli­cies, and that leeway would be present if you had ambi­gu­i­ty in the statute that left the deci­sion to the agency, but if the agency goes far­ther than the text that the statute per­mits, then it is the role of the court to say that that action was in con­flict with the statute, and there­fore ille­gal.”

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Category: Policy

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